ALL THE TOOLS YOU NEED FOR A ROAD TRIP
Road trips are a blast. You get to see the country from the comfort of your automobile. But what happens when something goes awry in the middle of nowhere? Back in pre-cellphone times, you’d have to walk to the nearest exit if you ran out of gas or popped a tire on the road. These days, you can call AAA on your cell and have them at the scene of your misfortune in under an hour. Waiting for the tow truck or AAA still costs you time and delays your trip. What if you could pack a few handy tools like one of the best car covers to take care of the essential maintenance issues and emergencies you might run into out on the road? If you’re planning on taking a road trip soon, here are eight tools and accessories you should have on hand.
1. Jumper Cables or Jumper Kit
You can use jumper cables or a jumper pack to help start your battery or aid a stranger. With the modern convenience of a jumper pack, you don’t even need another car to get your vehicle started again. These are incredibly handy and save you a ton of time and money. Just remember to put positive to positive and negative to negative if you don’t want a bigger problem than a dead battery.
2. 12v Air Compressor
These are not the colossal air compressors you see at construction sites, but a small, portable option to toss in your trunk for your road trip. An air compressor can help you deal with a slow leak in your tire until you can get it patched, and it can even help with a popped tire if the damage isn’t too severe. And if your road trip ends at the beach, you can use your air compressor to fill up those giant inflatables so that you don’t get light-headed blowing them up yourself.
3. Spare Tire
Most modern cars come equipped with a spare tire. You’ll likely find yours in a specifically designed compartment or attached to the bottom of your vehicle’s exterior. It’s worth your while to check that your spare tire is in your car and in good working order. You don’t want to discover that your spare tire is missing or broken while stranded on the side of the road. Most spare tires aren’t meant for permanent use, so make sure you head to the nearest mechanic once you get your spare on. Before you start your road trip, make sure you review how to change a spare tire.
4. Safety Triangles or Light Sticks
These are an absolute necessity when you’re out on the road. Safety triangles include stripes that reflect when headlights hit them, and light-up sticks glow for a few hours after you crack them. Especially if your car breaks down at night, you will need these light-up safety precautions to ensure that other drivers can see you clearly and avoid you. Many country roads have little to no lighting and, without reflective strips or lights, another car could hit and injure you. Make sure to delineate a wide berth around your broken-down car. Set up the first safety triangle ten feet behind your vehicle and the second 100 feet behind.
5. Flashlight and Spare Battery
A functional spare flashlight can make or break an emergency. Instead of fumbling around a broken-down car in the dark, a working flashlight will enable you to see what you’re doing and speed up the repair process. Before you leave for your road trip, make sure your flashlight is working and store an extra battery in the right size with it. There are even wind-up flashlights that are very helpful, as they don’t need batteries to operate.
6. Car Cover
Road trips are tough on cars. Hundreds and even thousands of miles can take a toll on your car’s internal machinations. But a road trip doesn’t need to be tough on the exterior of your automobile as well. Car covers are meant to be barraged by the elements so your car will not get damaged. Many types of car covers are available, including high-end tailored options, basic model choices, and all-weather covers. Car covers protect your car when you can’t park it inside. Instead of your car’s paint job suffering, the car cover will take the brunt of hail, rain, snow, sleet, hail, and wildlife damage. To keep your car looking as pristine at your destination as it did when you left (perhaps after a trip to the car wash), pack a car cover for your road trip.
7. First Aid Kit
This item is not so much for the car as it is for the occupants of the vehicle. When you’re on the road, you want to make sure you and everyone you’re traveling with arrives at the destination in one piece. A first aid kit is one of the top road trip accessories. You should make sure it is stocked before you take off. Common additions to a useful kit include band aids, water or antiseptic to rinse abrasions, gauze, painkillers, and antiseptic lotion. You could also include a thermometer and hand sanitizer in the kit. If any of your fellow travelers have medical issues, remind them to stock up on whatever prescriptions or equipment they might need with them for the duration of the trip.
No one likes to admit it when they’re lost. A simple solution to this anxiety-provoking situation is to simply never get lost. With modern technology like a GPS, you will rarely have to rely on vague directions from a gas station attendant or an antiquated map. Even if you have a maps function on your phone, take a back-up GPS and a physical road atlas while you’re at it. Cell phone coverage can be spotty in less-traveled parts of the country, and a GPS device will be more reliable. A physical book of maps could be a lifesaver if you run out of power on your phone and the GPS goes offline.
Road trips are an adventure that everyone should experience at least once in their lives. It pays to have these eight accessories on hand to solve whatever issues may come up, to keep things rolling smoothly. A crank flashlight, first aid kit, and car cover can keep everyone safe until help arrives in an emergency.